On Part 1 of 2 of my podcast, we learned what forgiveness is and what forgiveness is not. Forgiveness is NOT minimizing the seriousness of the offense. Forgiveness is NOT instant restoration of trust. Forgiveness is NOT resuming a relationship without any changes.
“Forgiveness is,” as author, David Stark, once wrote, “the release, on the part of the creditor or offended party, of any expectation that a debt will be repaid or that an offender will receive punishment for an offense. When describing the removal of an inappropriate offense in this way, the removal does not condone the behavior or suggest approval, for the offense.”
In Part 2 of 2 of How to Forgive What You Can’t Forget, I talk about how “Forgiving” really helps us even if we are not the one who did the harm, and I answer the question, “What if we were the one who caused the hurt; is there any hope for us?”
Our Greatest Need
Our greatest need is forgiveness. It’s the reason Jesus Christ came to earth. It’s the reason that all who believe in Him and confess His name will have an eternal home in Heaven, completely forgiven of all sins. John 3:17 (NIV) says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
Author Max Lucado says this about our GREATEST need: “If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist. If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist. But since our greatest need was forgiveness, God sent us a Savior.”
The Unforgivable Sin
Rejecting Jesus Christ as the one and only Savior leaves an unbeliever without any hope for salvation. Therefore, rejecting the one and only pardon is the unpardonable sin. John 3:36: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”
Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day” (John 6:44 NIV). This means it is God who chooses us; we do not choose Him.
You can have a future in Heaven. Invite Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior into your heart. You can pray, “Jesus, come in to my heart. I proclaim you my Lord and Savior. Forgive me of my sins.”
Where Does Unforgiveness Come From?
Unforgiveness is a condition of the heart. Everything that comes out of our mouths is a direct reflection of our heart. Jesus tells us that the heart is a storehouse for the good and evil, and what comes out of our mouths – good or bad – it all begins in the heart – Luke 6:43 NIV – “For there is no good tree that bears bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree that bears good fruit.”
Why Must We Forgive?
Colossians 3:13 NLT says, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”
But What Happens If We Don’t Forgive?
If Christ was willing to go the cross and die for you and me, to pay for our sins – past, present, and future – including our lack of forgiveness of others which is in itself a sin, it becomes easier to see why we must forgive others. Would you go to the cross and pay for someone else’s sins that you did not commit? I wouldn’t want to. But that’s what Christ did.
Why Must All Sin Be Paid For?
Matthew 6:14-15 tells us: “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Unforgiveness shuts down our ability to give or to receive forgiveness. It’s like a concrete wall that can’t be penetrated. And in the most negative sense, it hinders our relationship with God. We are separated from Him when we harbor sin in our heart.
How Can I Learn More?
Listen to today’s podcast. If you know of someone who struggles with forgiveness, feel free to share this podcast. It could save their life, literally.
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